An excerpt from Paris Lees’ article about the misrepresentation of trans people in the media, available here: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/08/31/lies-about-transgender-people-and-how-to-spot-a-rubbish-journalist/
I question everything, now. I recall articles from years back, on various subjects; “facts” stuck in my head; fears I was given; health advice. Were all those items poorly researched too? I see so much rot written about trans people that I just don’t know anymore. Does anyone – from legal correspondents to sports editors – really know what they’re writing about? And, if not, why read their work? News is produced on increasingly small budgets and research is becoming a luxury. Press standards are under scrutiny. Would cynics be better off reading blogs by real experts?
So, how can you tell if what you’re reading is rubbish? I have no idea how much of my daily news is true, but a visit to Islamophobia-Watch.com suggests that trans people are not the only minority group newspapers lie about. Still, there are 6 giveaways for poorly written trans features:
1. Sex Change. This is seldom used by trans people and has zero medical currency. Authors who use this have nothing valuable to share on trans issues.
2. Children having “sex changes”. Always false. In the UK, trans surgery is only performed on those aged 18 and above. Children prescribed reversible puberty blockers will have been monitored for years following careful guidelines.
3. Hermaphrodite. Widely offensive and biologically inaccurate. Humans with biological sex differences are described as intersex. Or people.
4. Taxpayers/NHS waste of money/cosmetic surgery. Don’t trust anyone who mentions tax during a polemic against trans people. Trans people also pay taxes, and we are more likely to do so when provided with proper healthcare and freedom from discrimination. Nevertheless, “wasteful” trans treatment costs are frequently exaggerated.
5. “Gender” – in quotation marks. Everyone has a gender identity. Clothing, language, toilets and many other arbitrary social cogs are gendered. Pretending that trans people have imagined their gender is, well, delusional.
6. Regret. Studies show that an astonishing 98 per cent of people who undergo genital surgery express no regret. Regret usually focuses on surgical results. Any journalist who mentions transition regret, without acknowledging this, has made a terrible mistake.